Alex Goodall

Camelot’s Last Chapter

JFK’s Last Hundred Days: An Intimate Portrait of a Great President

By

Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 432pp £20 order from our bookshop

To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace

By

The Bodley Head 249pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

John F Kennedy, who was assassinated fifty years ago this November, remains the great mythic hero for the postwar American Left. Lyndon Baines Johnson’s contributions to civil rights and the war on poverty were blighted by the Vietnam War; Jimmy Carter failed even to secure re-election; Bill Clinton’s presidency was undermined by a small-c conservatism and an all-too-unpresidential private life. Kennedy’s repu-tation, however, remains untarnished by either time or evidence, petrified in amber by the tragedy of his untimely death. Although Obama’s presidential campaigning has been most consciously Lincolnian in its language and symbolism, it is against Kennedy that he has most consistently been measured, not least because they are two of the most powerful orators to have occupied the White House in recent years.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,